Category Archives: Florida

Where to go next!

This month I thought I’d give you a nice, glossy overview of my top vacation destinations.

 

Dive Fiji for your next vacation

Mexico

For the best bang for the buck, Mexico reigns supreme.  You can opt for an all-inclusive resort, with your meals and drinks included.  Great pools, beach, and onsite activities to keep you well entertained, along with off-site day excursions.  On the go or relaxed, it’s your choice!

  • Cancun – Hotel Zone is lively and active.  This is a great choice for adult friend trips and for couples who love night life.
  • Riviera Maya (Playa del Carmen).  A great mix of adult only and family friendly all-inclusives.  And the range of moderate to luxury resorts means a resort that fits your style and budget.
  • Los Cabos.  Set on the tip of the Baja Peninsula on the Pacific side, where the desert meets the sea.  Great for couples, families, and friend getaways.
  • Puerto Vallarta.  On beautiful Banderas Bay.  Combine some resort time with exploring downtown and some excursions such as zip line and you’ve got yourself a great vacation.​

Caribbean

A wide range of island experiences with gorgeous beaches and fun cultural explorations​.

  • Jamaica.  Home of the popular all-inclusive Sandals, Couples, and Beaches Resorts.  You’ll also find other all-inclusive resorts here as well as some boutique resorts.
  • Punta Cana.  This growing resort destination is located on Dominican Republic, and has become a primary player in the all-inclusive market.  Family friendly and adults only options, in a wide range of style and budgets
  • Other islands.  Not everyone is looking for the mega resort.  If you prefer a quiet, small resort maybe Barbados or Turks and Caicos is your style.

Tahiti

Okay, so who doesn’t have Bora Bora on their bucket list?  This can be your once-in-a-lifetime milestone trip.  I do have clients who make Tahiti a regular vacation destination.  It is such a treat!  Imagine an overwater bungalow with pristine blue waters.  The epitome of relaxation.  Suited best for couples, but families enjoy this destination too.

Fiji

Beautiful.  Exotic.  Friendly.  If you’ve got at least a week, Fiji might just be the fit for you.  This is a great location for scuba and snorkeling.

 

Hawaii

I recommend a minimum stay of 5 nights in Hawaii, though 7 nights is better.  Pick from Oahu, Maui, Kauai, or the Big Island.  Or, if you have more time for your vacation, a two island combination might work best for you.  Polynesian paradise without the need for a passport.  On Oahu you don’t need a rental car.  On the other islands, renting a car is recommended, but driving on the islands is very easy and stress free.  Hotels range from economy to luxury.  And it is easy to explore on your own.

 

Walt Disney World (Orlando)

A “must see” for families, but Walt Disney World can also be a great vacation for adults.  A few days in a Disney Deluxe Resort, top notch dining reservations, and some awesome park time can make for a fun, romantic getaway. I recommend staying in one of Disney’s Resorts, and these range from the Value to Moderate to Deluxe properties.  Or, opt for a cabin for your family, complete with kitchens.

 

 

 

 

Western Europe

Trade in your flip flops for some good walking shoes for your next vacation to Europe.  These vacations are divided into two categories:

  • Escorted Tours.  The easiest way to see your favorite country, or multiple countries.  You are traveling in a group with a guide, and all the driving and planning is taken care of for you.
  • Independent Tours.  For the free spirited who prefer to go on their own.  We can put together a single city package, a rail package, or a self drive — all depending on your itinerary and personal preferences

Costa Rica

Recent resort growth in Costa Rica has been in the all-inclusive market, along the Guanacaste area on the Pacific coast.  There are now several moderate, upscale, and luxury options for families and couples.  Or, if you prefer a more adventurous itinerary, we can set up a multiple itinerary tour (either with a group or independent) for some volcano, rainforest, and beach time.

 

Cruises

We offer cruises in many regions across the globe in categories from moderate to luxury.  Cruising can offer an easy itinerary option if you want to see multiple countries without having to move from hotel room to hotel room.  Plus the ship is sometimes a destination in itself.  Cruising is also a great option for family reunions and large friend groups.

18 Ways to Upgrade your Walt Disney Vacation

Planning a special trip to Walt Disney World? Disney offers a wealth of services, many of which you might not be aware. You’ll definitely want to stay onsite at one of Disney’s Deluxe Resorts for maximum convenience and park access. Your Disney experience is limited only by your imagination (and budget).

Consider these ways to upgrade your vacation.

1. Surprise your spouse with flowers or a special gift delivered to the room by Disney Floral & Gifts.
2. Upgrade to private transfers by towncar or limousine.
3. Enjoy a massage, facial, or body treatment at the spa at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort, Animal Kingdom Lodge, Boardwalk Inn, Saratoga Springs Resort, or Wilderness Lodge.
4. Have a romantic dinner at one of Disney’s signature restaurants such as California Grill (Contemporary), Jiko’s (Animal Kingdom Lodge), Citrico’s (Grand Floridian), and Narcoossee’s (Grand Floridian). Call 407-WDW-DINE.
5. Play a round of golf at one of Disney’s five golf courses (Palm, Magnolia, Osprey Ridge, Oak Trail, and Lake Buena Vista). Call 407-WDW-GOLF.
6. Sign up for a behind the scenes tour at one of the Disney Parks. Call 407-WDW-TOUR.
7. Upgrade your room to concierge level (available at Disney’s Deluxe Resorts). Reserve at time of booking.
8. Order room service for breakfast, and take that extra time to sleep in (available at Disney’s Deluxe Resorts).
9. Charter the Grand 1 Yacht, a 52-foot Sea Ray, for your own private cruise ($450 per hour, up to 18 guests, departs from Grand Floridian).
10. Go fish with a guided bass catch-and-release fishing excursion (available at select Disney Resort marinas). Call 407-WDW-BASS.
11. Ride a horse through a 45-60 minute guided trail ride at Disney’s Fort Wilderness. Call 407-WDW-PLAY.
12. Or, sign up instead for the 2 hour segway Wilderness Back Trail Adventure at Disney’s Fort Wilderness. Call 407-WDW-TOUR.
13. Get your Disney Villa fridge fully stocked by preordering through GardenGrocer.com
14. Race your own stock car at Richard Petty Driving Experience. Reservations: www.1800bepetty.com.
15. Rent a pedal boat, canoe, pontoon boat, sail boat, or catamaran for an hour along one of Disney’s lagoons or lakes.
16. Watch Cirque du Soliel’s show LaNouba, located in Downtown Disney. Reserve at time of booking.
17. Enjoy a luau at Disney’s Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show located at the Polynesian Resort. Call 407-WDW-DINE.
18. Experience a safari at Animal Kingdom Lodge. Call 407-WDW-TOUR.

Review of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, Walt Disney World Orlando

Pulling up to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, I initially thought the building looked odd. A massive building with a thatch roofed appearance, totally out of place in Florida. My first impression melted to awe when I walked into the lobby. Holy smokes, I had never seen anything like this! I had been transported to a strange and delicious world, and I didn’t want to leave. Not one bit. There were artifacts, African themes taken to astronomical proportions, exotic animals in the distance.

The service at the desk was on par with the best luxury resorts. All my questions were answered, we got maps of the resort layout (a definite necessity), and lots of other goodies to go into our memory book.

The room was fabulous. The African theme was on everything…down to the light fixtures and tiles. I immediately conjured up visions of an African theme in my own house.

The best part of the room was the balcony. Two chairs, one table, and a SAFARI just feet away. It was the most exotic suspense of reality I could conceive.

We had reservations at the upscale restaurant Jiko’s. The meal was AMAZING, definitely French cuisine with African inspiration. We had the steak and the monkfish, and appetizers emblazoned on my tastebuds (a bread-curry-yogurt dish). The service was outstanding. It quickly became my favorite Disney Resort restaurant.

Next door, Boma’s boasts an exotic but less intimate buffet experience. They have an open kitchen here with a wood-fire rotisserie grill (that smells fantastic). We tried the breakfast buffet one morning, and there were some unusual and tasty choices. I was stuffed! They also offer a dinner buffet with some African cuisine touches.

Nearby is Mara’s a food court with Disney/resort priced meals. This is the cheapest way to eat at AKL (that’s not saying much, it’s a resort after all). There were some unusual snacks here, and the service was friendly.

The pool was beautiful and creative, and you’ll want to allow enough time to really enjoy it. Of course, the animals on the resort “savannah” are the highlight. There’s an observation deck, and you can see zebras, giraffes, antelopes, and all sorts of critters out there. There are higher observation decks and a fantastic outdoor bonfire spot where you can grab a rocker and decompress.

The first morning I woke up extra early to watch the sun. I had ordered room service. The experience of room service breakfast, coffee, newspaper, and giraffes on the balcony was such a stress reducer. For the first time, I didn’t want to go to EPCOT! Our stay was much too short — only two nights. And ever since then, I imagine going back real soon.

Since our visit, Disney has added villas to the Animal Kingdom Lodge for even more options!

~Cindy Grant, Travel Consultant, ReconnectTravel.com 972-625-6200

Waldorf Astoria – a Luxury Retreat for an Orlando Escape

Waldorf Astoria Orlando, the newest luxury resort in the Disney-Lake Buena Vista area, which opened in October 2009. Part of the emerging 482 acre Bonnet Creek Complex, this property offers all the luxury amenities and services you’d expect from the Waldorf Astoria Collection, as well as the Waldorf Astoria Golf Club and easy access to Walt Disney World.

The Waldorf Astoria Orlando offers 497 rooms a 24,000 square foot spa and 4,000 square foot fitness center, as well as signature restaurants similar to those in the Waldorf Astoria New York (Peacock Alley, Bull & Bear Steakhouse, Oscar’s, Sir Harry’s Lounge and Aquamarine). The Bonnet Creek development also includes the 1000 room Hilton Bonnet Creek, as well as 160,000 square feet of meeting space.

The clientelle at the Waldorf Astoria Orlando will be mostly business travelers and attendees of meetings and conventions at Bonnet Creek. However, with Walt Disney World so close by, this is great for a special romantic weekend getaway for two.

~Cindy Grant, Travel Consultant ReconnectTravel.com 972-625-6200